New York Farm Bureau will be sending daily alerts at this time to keep you up to date on the latest COVID-19 news that may affect you, your farm family and employees. We know things are constantly changing, but we will do our best to keep you informed, offer guidance and share ways you may be able to help. We will do this for as long as it is necessary. NYFB is a community, and we are all in this together.
The Latest from Gov. Cuomo’s Daily Briefing on COVID-19*
Gov. Cuomo has extended the Pause Act to April 29, which mandates non-essential workers to work from home and a six-foot social distancing space be observed in public places. Click here for more information.
- The Governor says number of coronavirus deaths in New York continued to increase Tuesday but the rate of new infections and hospitalizations is flattening as a result of the social distancing measures that have been in place for weeks.
- The 779 deaths on Tuesday brought New York's total fatalities to 6,268
- NY PAUSE and social distancing have been working to flatten the curve for the moment. The Governor said stopping such measures could change numbers and result in an increase in cases.
- Number of patients hospitalized is down, three-day average trend down, large hospital systems reporting higher levels of releases than intakes.
- Have managed to increase capacity and share equipment among hospitals.
- The Governor said if hospitalization rate continues to decrease, the system should be able to stabilize over the next couple of weeks and reduce the need for overflow systems.
- The Governor would like to make overall decisions on reintroducing people to society on a regional basis. Cases don't have to completely disappear but need to take caution. "I don't know that we'd ever get back to zero," he said.
- Regarding blood-gas machine cartridges. State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said these are supplies for care-testing, if there is a decrease DOH will be looking into it to address them.
- On the subject of temporary hospitals, the Governor said that although there is flattening, numbers could change at any moment. He explained it is still too early to tell if this is the apex.
- Zucker explained the protocol of putting people on ventilators is used as a "last resort" due to high mortality rates. Initially, patients are given oxygen therapy (via mask), but if the situation worsens, they require respiratory support. DOH is "looking at other possible therapies" but they are experimental now.
- The Governor said the state is not currently building more temporary hospitals but are working to maintain the current system. He warned numbers could still change.
- The National Governors Association has been discussing a consortium system to share resources in case of a lack of federal assistance.
*Courtesy NY StateWatch
For the latest number of infection cases, including a breakdown by county, click here.
Update on DEC Pesticide Applicator Requirements
New York Farm Bureau has fielded a number of questions from our members regarding DEC pesticide applicator certification/re-certification requirements during the COVID-19 crisis. To obtain up-to-the-minute information from DEC on pesticide certification, re-certification, certification exams and business registrations, please visit the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Bureau of Pesticides Management website by clicking here.
Financial Assistance Reminder for Farmers
Farmers are reminded of several programs that can provide financial assistance due to impacts on farm businesses due to COVID-19.
- The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan, provided through the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program, will help businesses to cover payroll costs and other specified business expenses for qualifying employers with less than 500 employees. Farms are eligible for the program. Information regarding the PPP can be found here. Farmers should check with their banks and lending institutions for assistance with applying. USDA has indicated that funds received under the PPP will not impact payment eligibility for any USDA assistance.
- The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit for 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. The credit applies to wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. Self-employed individuals are not eligible for this credit. An employer may not claim Employee Retention Credits if it receives a Small Business Interruption Loan under the Paycheck Protection Program. Additional information can be found here.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans and other programs to provide assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Questions have arisen regarding agriculture and farm eligibility for SBA loans. The SBA recently published an application guide for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, which can be found here. Unfortunately, the application guide specifically states that agricultural enterprises (e.g. farms) are not eligible entities, with the exception of aquaculture enterprises, agricultural cooperatives, and nurseries.
- USDA Farm Service Agency and USDA Rural Development Offices have loan programs that farmers may qualify for. Though they are on enhanced telework, they are available by phone appointment and applications are still being processed. To find your local USDA service center, click here.
- USDA has also issued a FAQ website pertaining to a multitude of COVI-19 related issues concerning agriculture including a section on PPP. The USDA website can be found here.
New York Senators Send Letters to USDA Calling for Assistance to Aid New York Farmers
New York’s two senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have sent letters to the USDA regarding the impact of COVID-19 on New York farms and the need for the USDA to act quickly to provide assistance to these operations. A copy of the letters can be found here for Schumer and here for Gillibrand. NYFB continues to work with Congressional members and federal agencies to provide needed assistance to New York farmers.
Congressional Members Send Letter to SBA Regarding EIDL Farm Eligibility
In a letter led by New York congressmen Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), 86 members of Congress sent a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza regarding the ineligibility of most farm businesses to access the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program as authorized under the CARES Act. The letter goes on to say that the congressional intent in the CARES Act was for farms to be eligible for the programs. NYFB thanks the following New York Congressional members for signing on to the letter: Antonio Delgado, Anthony Brindisi, Elise Stefanik, Thomas R. Suozzi, Joe Morelle, Brian Higgins, Sean Patrick Maloney, John Katko, Paul Tonko, Nydia Velazquez, and Tom Reed. A copy of the letter can be found here. NYFB continues to urge the SBA to open the EIDL program to all farm businesses.
NY FarmNet is open
Please keep these numbers and websites available to call or share should you, a family member or friends need someone to speak with in these uncertain times.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 (TALK), www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Crisis Text Line
Text “GOT 5” to 741-741, www.crisistextline.org
If you have concerns about how COVID-19 will affect your agricultural operation, please give New York Farm Bureau a call at 518-436-8495. We can only help those who ask. Who knows, maybe your question will cause us to get ahead of a problem instead of reacting to it after it has become a problem.
- For previous NYFB COVID-19 alerts and the latest info, click here.
- Click here for the latest information from New York State on COVID-19.
- The CDC has created a website for the latest news on the virus.
Click here to access it.
- COVID-19 Guidance from NYSDAM is available on its website. The department has also published a general resource guide for the agricultural community.